Go Ahead, Send the Hate Mail

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Again, like anyone reads this, although I DO have to send a shout out to Reader Stephanie:

OK, so what I was going to discuss in this post might send some people reeeeeling. ¬†Oh well…no one really reads this anyway (except Stephanie and the obligatory Husband; actually don’t even think my Mother reads this) and besides, it’s my blog ūüôā ¬†So I was thinking a lot lately about running. ¬†I truly feel it is a gift. I have compared it to tackling life before. ¬†SO when I return to it after injury or lack of motivation, I just feel SOOOO blessed to be running again. ¬†I just feel that nothing compares to running. ¬†Not the elliptical, not the Cybex, not cardio classes, certainly not biking, not even swimming…well maybe swimming ūüėČ ¬†But the accomplishment that I feel and the way my body feels post-run is like nothing else. ¬†And the mental strength it takes during along with what the body endures while running is like nothing else. ¬†OK, just wanted to say that. ¬†Do you agree?

My face says it all!

Acupuncture

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OK, so I have actually been going to acupuncture for about a month and a half so far. ¬†I I haven’t really “revealed” this on the blog yet (ohhhh I know sooo many people read this…lol…they don’t :)) because I wanted to give it a bit of time in hopes for an accurate assessment. ¬†Anyway, I like it. ¬†I really do. ¬†I go to Steve Mavros at the Healing Arts Center of Philadelphia and he is awesome. ¬†Like Yoga, where ¬†find savasana (final resting or corpse pose) the hardest; being still is NOT one of my strongpoints, I find the hardest part of acupuncture is when the needles are IN (not when they are being PUT in) and you have to lay there are REST. ARGH! ¬†Kills me every time!

Anyway the fact is, my life is stressful, so I need acupuncture…ya know, I spend a LOT of time doing this

OK, so , go me, I got to the gym today.  I did 4 miles on the treadmill and threw in a freebie one more on the track.  Total=5.  Good math, doll.

Slow and steady wins the race...

Right, so per half marathon training, I am good. ¬†The ankle was “good” and the arm held up OK except that I kinda had to immobilize it because “pumping it” while running was making the skin stretch too much. ¬†Ew. ¬†I know. ¬†Ya know what, I’m just gonna let it all hang out; no one reads this anyway ūüėČ ¬†so my toe was bleeding when I took my sock off to get in the shower (shocking, I know…not the toe, the shower). ¬†I have no idea why. ¬†Random!new shoes maybe? ¬†OK, in yummier news, er…

French vanilla ice cream with fiber one PB Brownie (trust me, they're good), and some trader joe's waffle cookies. Unreal.

and

Lunch today: leftover turkey and melted brie yummmm

Getting (back) into the Groove

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UGH Motivation Gods, please help me!!!! I do not know what the problem is lately but I have been seriously lacking in motivation lately; not just with my workouts, but with life tasks in general. ¬†(think: ¬†house looks like a monsoon came through it) ¬†I do not know if it is my various injuries or what, BUT per my stated plans, I MUST start my Half Mary training today…NO exceptions. I am hoping to get the the gym to bang through a four miler on the treadmill. ¬†Philadelphia heat is definitely NOT cooperating with outside running plans…


I am going to be relying a LOT on the following:

– The latest US Weekly Mags

– My new ipad for entertainment

 

РMy mantra:  Pain is temporary, PRIDE is forever.

Do you have a mantra you use for exercise?  For life in general?

Home improvement

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Husband and I have decided to do lil something something around the house. It needs so revamping. We have lived here for 6 years and have never changed the original decor. A little while ago we got new bedroom furniture (ill do a separate post on this sometime), so we went shopping for living room furniture today. We drove over the Ben Franklin bridge to cherry hill, nj. We checked out Macy’s furniture gallery on route 38 (actually all of the following are), Ethan Allen, and raymour & flanigan. We ended up purchasing a lovely set at the last place (raymour & flanigan) in the color “vintage,” a slate gray that will compliment our exposed brick wall well.

Of course I took the opportunity to take photos of myself, ya know, cause I’m vain like that hehe. I kiiiiiiiiiiid but seriously how fun is it t do a little photo sess every once in a while? I know a lot of bloggers who’d agree like skinny runner! Hahhaa anyway, here is the evidence…

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Half Marathon Training BEGINS…

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Monday! ¬†Hopefully…(avert your eyes for gross picture below)

Sprained ankle...on your right

Bum arm from bike accident

my injuries will NOT derail my Half Mary training any more than they already have! ¬†When we left for the cruise I was in good (not great) shape for the beginning of training. ¬†I wanted to continue my training on the ship, hence my run on day one at sea that resulted unfortunately in my sprained ankle. ¬†Since then, I’ve been “cross training” keeping it to low impact exercises like the elliptical, Cybex or Bike but maintaining my “on your feet time” for at least an hour to be in the groove of half Mary training. ¬†But, in all honesty, my ankle kinda hurts still. ¬†It is tender and doesn’t feel great. ¬†Bummer. ¬†SO my plan is to stay off of it this weekend (I rested Friday and will do so Sat and Sun too) and then try for a lil’ 4 mler on Monday. ¬†I have to just feel it out and see how it goes. ¬†NOT running this half marathon is NOT in my mind at all. ¬†Oops! ¬†I totally forgot to mention which Halfie I’m running: ¬†the ING on September 18, 2011!


I am SO excited because I have never ran a Rock N’ Roll Half and I hear they are a BLASTY! ¬†I also really LOVE running through my city!

SO I have run two half marathons previously; the Philly Half last November (2010)

and the Disney Princess Half in late February 2011.

Anyway, unfortunately I only have about 9 weeks to train for this Half Marathon so I hope that my current “OK” level of fitness carries me enough. Most training plans, especially my favorite, Hal Higdon’s, require 10 or more training weeks. ¬†Understandable. ¬†But I’ll make due with what I have. ¬† And unfortunately, due to Philadelphia’s forecast, I forsee a lot of treadmill-ing in my near future ūüėČ ¬†OK, so I’m off to enjoy a riveting Lifetime movie with my ankle propped up on the couch…don’t judge. ¬†Isn’t that how the “cool people” enjoy Saturday afternoons?

Vacation Recap: Norwegian Gem Cruise July 2011

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So, I consider this our first “real cruise.” ¬†Definitely Husband’s, sorta mine. ¬†In college I went on a very short “Rock Boat” cruise with some of my favorite bands, but this was different. ¬†It was a BIG Cruise 7 days to Bermuda! ¬†We absolutely LOVED out experience on the Norwegian Gem. ¬†The service was amazing, the staff impeccable, the ship magnificent, our room just perfect! ¬†Here are some highlights:

Our Room, Especially the Balcony

The inside was more than sufficient, but the outside?! Now THAT was incredible.

The view was incredible and we loved chilling out there at night star gazing.

We had a LOT of photo ops on the balcony:


I actually read an entire 399 page book while on that balcony ūüėČ ¬†it was so good!

(Source)

The Various Restaurants

OK, so I thought naively that cruises well ALL inclusive…by “all” I mean ALL. ¬†Not so much. ¬†Neither alcohol nor soda is “free.” ¬†In fact, Husband and I got a “soda package” that was about 7 dollars a day per person that allowed us “bottomless FOUNTAIN soda” not cans (which sometimes waiters served anyway and then you had to pay.

RANT:

Waiters do NOT like waiting on customers who have the “soda package sticker.” ¬†They will downright ignore your order and walk away! ¬†It is very rude and kinda sucks. ¬†Some people just don’t or can’t drink! ¬†We can still tip!

All in all I thought the food on the ship was so-so.  Minus some of the nicer restaurants that had a surcharge, I felt that the food was bland and not always fresh. I guess that is to be expected of a cruise ship that serves 4,000 people for 7 days straight without supply replenishment.  Anyway, some notable restaurants (all below had a minimal surcharge of about 10-15 dollars per person) were:

Tequila Latin Tapas 

Husband was especially excited for this place because his favorite Philadelphia restaurant is called TequilaS and he LOVES him some Mexican food. ¬†I, myself, not so much, but I made do. ¬†So all in all, Tequilas of Philadelphia definitely wins out, but this was OK. We started out with loaded nachos and chicken taquitos. ¬†Husband got a beef burrito and I got “lobster soft tacos.” ¬†They were good, but I was pretty sure they took the lobster meat in cream sauce from our meal the night before (see below) and threw it in a soft shell. ¬†Luckily, I enjoyed last night’s meal ūüôā

Le Bistro

This French hotspot was my absolute favorite on the ship. ¬†From start to finish it was magnificent, including the cute ambience, gorgeous view and impeccable service. ¬†I started with an AMAZING four cheese cream of mushroom soup and then had the lobster (out of the shell). ¬†This was no typical lobster, people. ¬†This lobster was smothered in something creamy and french that I don’t want to know what it consisted of. ¬†It was delish. ¬†In all honesty I can’t remember what Husband had since I was so consumed in my own gluttony delicious meal. ¬†I think he started with the french onion soup. ¬†In any case my camera clearly ate the pictures ūüėČ ¬†It was sooooo good though. ¬†Trust me.

Cagnes Steakhouse 

This was my second favorite restaurant and this first we visited on the ship. ¬†I had a delicious¬†lobster bisque to start with and then the strip steak with fresh mushrooms and mushroom sauce…and then I turned into a mushroom. hehe I kid. ¬†But it was DELISH! ¬†Husband had the strip steak as well and I forget what to start with. ¬†But I think the star of the meal MIGHT have been the apple crumb cobbler with vanilla ice cream that I had for dessert. ¬†YUM. ¬†Cue the mouth watering.

What we did on the ship

One might think “wow, 7 days is a long time to be on a ship, what did you do?” ¬†Which I wondered as well. ¬†Let me share some ways we soaked up the 7 lovely days (besides eating our face off- see above)…

Р The Thermal Room at the Spa- see THIS POST for more on this

– Worked out- until my ankle became useless due to my misfortune on the ship track

– Read/Relaxed a LOT on our balcony (oh and photo-opped hehe)

– Hung out by the pool with the fam or in the quiet area (sun deck) where we got accosted for our daybed several times

– Gambled at the casino (yup, this gal can get some itchy palms!)

– Took a backstage tour of the boat (which unfortunately ended in me=seasick) but was quite interesting and probably deserves its own post

РHad drinks at the many bars on the ship, our favorite being the champagne/piano bar and continued my love affair with PROSECCO!  (I said it like that each time- Pro-SEC-ooooooooooH hahahahah)

By the way, according to this site,

There are many differences between prosecco and champagne, though both wines come from Europe, are effervescent, and tend toward a dry rather than sweet flavor. Yet each is limited by definitions placed on it by country, and while there are many brands of each type produced, they have to be produced in very specific ways. Some other differences include aging and pricing.

First, champagne has a specific definition. It is effervescent wine made in the Champagne region of France. It can only be produced there and all other wines that are effervescent are sparkling wines. Even when the champagne giant Louis Roederer, known for Dom Perignon and Cristal, began to produce champagne-like wines in the Anderson Valley in California, these could not be called champagnes. Instead they are sparkling wines because they are not made in the designated French region. This doesn’t make such wines inferior, but it does mean they’re not champagne.

When considering prosecco, there are some similarities. Prosecco obviously cannot be champagne since it is made in Italy. Like champagne, real versions of this sparkling wine are limited to being produced in a specific region of Italy called the Veneto region. A person can’t make this wine anywhere else, even if he uses the same grapes and the same process.

I THINK I had the Aneri (brand) Prosecco

And just like that, friends, the cruise was over. ¬†I was nervous that I would get sick of being on the boat for 7 whole days; I’m known to be quite an antsy person, but I didn’t really feel an itch to get off until the last day (which I’m sure was not helped by my vomitous seasickness). ¬†And somehow I forgot in my post of blunders, the final “cap on the whole trip!” ¬†So we get priority disembarkment; Husband wanted to get to baseball. ¬†Fine, I was definitely ready to get back to dry land; so 8:15 am prompt, Husband arrives to our car, runs back to where I am anxiously waiting with our luggage, and the CAR IS DEAD! ¬†ARGH! ¬†No, we did NOT leave anything on as I am sure you are wondering. ¬†BUMMER! ¬†So I flag down this lovely gentlemen also disembarking from the ship, and ask him to give us a jump. ¬†He obliges and guess what?!? His car is dead! ARGH again! ¬†So the port authority men end up giving us a jump with their mobile jump box. They said this happens a lot when cars are sitting for a week or more. ¬†Awesome. ¬†Needless to say, I kissed the ground when we got home, but we have MNAY awesome memories of our July 2011 Cruise!

 

 

The SPA- Norwegian Gem

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The Spa. ¬†OH the spa. ¬†It definitely deserves its own post. ¬†Although I was unable to receive any treatments (we were scheduled for a couple’s massage but I got seasick, yuck) we did get a “thermal spa” pass which gave us access to the amenities. ¬†Oh the amenities. ¬†We definitely got our money’s worth, especially after our insane bike ride! ¬†The spa, called Mandara (I believe it is actually a chain) was at the bow of the boat and offered incredible views. ¬†I’ll let the pictures do the talking.